A Ventura County judge blocks the relocation of a convicted rapist to Joshua Tree as the desert community deeply opposed the move of Ross Wollschlager into their neighborhood.
There was strong opposition from people who live in Joshua Tree as well as from the San Bernardino County District Attorney and the sheriff, D.A. prosecutors even traveled to the Ventura County courtroom to object the release of Wollschlager.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff, John McMahon spoke to reporters outside the courtroom, he said, “Because it is so important to those folks and all of us that we keep Mr. Wollschlager from coming to our county and into the community of Joshua Tree.”
Ken Katona lives in Joshua Tree and he approves of the judge’s decision.
Katona said, “I have a daughter and three grandsons, so I wouldn’t want somebody like that in the same area my family is in.”
A community meeting last month drew hundreds of locals to voice their concerns about the tentative decision to relocate Wollschlager to Joshua Tree.
The crimes date back decades, in 1983 Wollschlager was charged with four counts of rape and five years later while on parole he assaulted a 10-year-old girl in her bed.
Allyson Sarria recently moved to Joshua Tree and she did not think the desert was a good location to place Wollschlager.
Sarria said, “I think he should move somewhere else because there’s a lot of kids walking around and I’ve seen kids come in and out from school, so it’s not really a good place to be.”
The judge conditionally released Wollschlager from prison back in January, but he remains inside a state mental hospital.
Wollschlager’s attorney is petitioning the judge to release him into Ventura County as a transient, they will return to court on November 13.